Dallas ISD covers 312.6 square miles (809.6 km2) of land (map) and most of the city of Dallas. The district also serves Cockrell Hill, most of Seagoville and Addison, Wilmer, most of Hutchins, and portions of the following cities:
The Dallas public school district in its current form was first established in Dallas in 1884, although there is evidence that public schools had existed for Dallas prior to that date. Mayor W. L. Cabell ordered just one month after the June 16, 1884, district founding that "all former Ordinances in relation to the city public school are hereby repealed," and the district's 1884-85 superintendent, a Mr. Boles, had enrollment figures for each year from 1880 through his own tenure; furthermore, the Dallas Directory of 1873 expressed regret that "there are no public schools in Dallas," while the 1875 Directory said that "the schools are near perfection." The 1884 organizational meeting coincides with changes in statewide education law establishing a system of school districts, each to be assigned its own number, with the ability to levy taxes and raise funds as well as to determine the length of school terms and other educational decisions; the state superintendent of schools, Benjamin M. Baker, also praised the new law's abandonment of tying teachers' salaries to the number of pupils attending, a practice he called "a relic of barbarism."
At the time of the 1884 organization, six schools already were operating; four schools were designated for whites and two for "colored," as segregation was the legal policy at the time. Booker T. Washington High School is one of these original schools, beginning as "Colored School No. 2" in 1884 and adopting its later name in 1902.
The school system expanded from offering 11 grades to a modern 12-year program as of 1941. Initially, the change was resisted by families who felt the additional year would be too expensive, though others promoted the addition of a further year of athletics and some anticipated an ability for gifted students to finish the 12-year program in as little as 10.5 years, although that hope did not prove a reality. The period from 1946 to 1966 saw rapid construction of schools, with 97 of the district's school buildings erected during this period, at a peak of 17 schools in 1956 alone.
School desegregation was a gradual process that did not begin for nearly six years after the United States Supreme Court made its May 17, 1954, Brown v. Board of Education decision, nullifying the previous doctrine of "separate but equal" public facilities. The Dallas school board commissioned studies over the next several months, deciding in August, 1956, that desegregation was premature and that the segregated system would stay in place for 1956-57. Texas passed legislation in 1957 requiring that districts not integrate their schools unless district residents voted to approve the change; an August, 1960, election for this purpose ended with voters rejecting desegregation. Meanwhile, a lawsuit was filed by the district against the state superintendent on August 13, 1958, with the goal of a resolution of conflicts between federal and state courts on the subject of integration.
In 1960 the district initially adopted a plan to desegregate grade by grade, starting with the 1961 first-grade class, and proceed year by year until desegregation had been achieved; the plan was amended only weeks later to provide for movement of students at parent request. The year 1965 brought substantial changes to this process, as on September 1, 1965, the elementary schools were ordered desegregated, initially to be followed by the junior high schools in 1966 and the senior high schools in 1967; however, the Fifth Circuit United States Court issued an order on September 7 that led to amending the ruling so that all twelve grades must be desegregated as of September 1, 1965. A book on the history of DISD published the following year by the school district made the statement, "Desegregation of the Dallas Schools was accomplished in the course of ten short years with a minimum of commotion and stress ... [due to] the patient and sympathetic understanding ... and the flinty determination of the School Board ... to serve the public in their lawfully constituted duty." In September 1967 Dallas ISD states that its schools were desegregated. During another desegregation suit in the 1970s, a judge suggested that students from different schools could interact via television instead of forcing desegregation busing in the district. The judge liked the plan, while the parties filing suit did not.
After the desegregation, in the 1970s many White American students and families withdrew from district schools en masse.
In 1996 DISD announced that it would en masse rezone many areas to different schools. DISD officials said that the rezoning, which would affect over 40 campuses, would be the largest such rezoning since at least the 1950s.
In the summer of 2005, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) ordered the Wilmer-Hutchins Independent School District closed for the 2005–2006 school year due to financial stress and reported mismanagement. After negotiations, Dallas ISD agreed to accept the students for the 2005–2006 school year. The Wilmer-Hutchins ISD district was absorbed into Dallas ISD in summer 2006.
Dallas ISD opened 11 new campuses in the fall of 2006. The district incorporated the WHISD territory via "Plan K," adopted on November 30, 2006.
From 2005 to 2007, several northwest Dallas area public schools under Dallas ISD jurisdiction became infamous due to the outbreak of a Dallas-area recreational drug, a version of heroin mixed with Tylenol PM, called "cheese," which led to several deaths of students. Dallas ISD issued drug dog searches to schools in order to combat the problem.
Dallas ISD was reported in April 2008 to have the 7th highest dropout rate of any urban school district in the US. All 6 cities with higher dropout rates than Dallas in this study were smaller cities with under a million population.
From 1998 to 2008 Dallas ISD had a pattern of having an average of 14,600 9th grade students but only giving high school diplomas to an average of less than 6,300 students four years later. Using these 9th grade numbers indicates that roughly 56% of students are consistently missing at graduation. The graduation rates (percentage of 9th grade students represented by the number of diplomas given to that class at graduation) for the classes of 2006, 2007 and 2008 have been 41.4%, 40.5% and 41% respectively. With the graduation of the Class of 2009 the graduation rate went up to 43.5%.
Using four major indicators for dropout rate patterns, the Dallas ISD is improving as of November 2009 in all four indicators. This progress has been consistent for almost four years for all measurements.
In 2009 state representative Yvonne Davis proposed a bill which would force the state to divide any school district that meets several parameters. The parameters include the district having more than 150,000 students, the district residing in a county with more than two million residents, and the resident county being adjacent to at least one other county with more than one million residents. The bill does not name any particular school district, but the parameters of the bill may only apply to Dallas ISD.
Dallas ISD implemented mandatory school uniforms for all elementary and middle school students (through 8th grade) on most campuses starting in the 2005–2006 school year.
Elementary and middle school campuses which do not follow the Dallas ISD uniform policy continue to use their own mandatory uniform codes, which were adopted prior to the 2005–2006 school year.
Uniforms are optional at the high school level as in schools decide whether to adopt uniform policies; eight traditional high schools and three alternative high schools have adopted them.
The Texas Education Agency specified that the parents and/or guardians of students zoned to a school with uniforms may apply for a waiver to opt out of the uniform policy so their children do not have to wear the uniform; parents must specify "bona fide" reasons, such as religious reasons or philosophical objections.
Relations with other agencies
Angela Shah of The Dallas Morning News said in 2004, "Even as many big cities move aggressively to bolster public education, City Hall's relationship with Dallas' largest school district remains informal at best."
Athletic facilities controlled by DISD include P.C. Cobb Athletic Complex in the Fair Park Arena, Forester Athletic Complex in southeast Dallas, Franklin Stadium in North Dallas (north of NorthPark Center), Jesse Owens Memorial Complex (southeast of Interstate 20), Alfred J. Loos Athletic Complex in Addison, Pleasant Grove Stadium in southeast Dallas, Seagoville Stadium in Seagoville, Sprague Athletic Complex in southwest Dallas, and Wilmer-Hutchins Eagle Stadium in south Dallas.
Dallas ISD Enrollment Data 2006–2007
Number of Students
Early Childhood Education
Grades 1 - 6
Grades 7 - 8
Grades 9 - 12
Dallas ISD Ethnicity Data 2006–2007
Number of Students
A more detailed enrollment of Dallas ISD students by grade from the years 1997 through 2008 as reported to the Texas Education Agency is compiled into a spreadsheet at http://www.studentmotivation.org/DallasISD.htm.
30 years prior to 2003, half of DISD's students were White. As time passed, the White population decreased due to private schools and white flight. As of 2003, DISD was 58% Hispanic, 34% African American, 6% White, and 2% Asian and Native American. As of that year, 190 DISD schools were 90% or more combined black and Hispanic, 37 schools were 90% or more Hispanic, and 24 schools were 90% or more black.
As of 2003, some schools in DISD still had significant numbers of White American students. Usually they were up to 15-20% of a school's given population. Many schools with significant White populations were in the East Dallas and North Dallas areas and mostly white sections of Oak Cliff, such as Kessler Park. Elementary schools that had significant White populations included Nathan Adams, Hexter, Lakewood, Pershing, Seagoville, Preston Hollow, and Harry Withers. Middle schools with significant White populations included Franklin,Seagoville and Long middle schools. High schools with significant White populations included Hillcrest, W.T. White, Seagoville and Woodrow Wilson.
In 2009 the State of Texas defined "college readiness," or readiness to undergo university studies, of high school graduates by scores on the ACT and SAT and in the 11th grade Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests. Holly K. Hacker of The Dallas Morning News said that DISD schools "showed extreme highs and lows in college readiness." Regarding the selective DISD magnet schools, Hacker said that they "prepare virtually all graduates for college." Throughout the DFW metroplex, the highest college readiness rates were found in the School of Science & Engineering and the School for the Talented & Gifted. Hacker said "[t]hough they serve some students with lower incomes, the campuses have a huge advantage because they accept only those with high test scores."
The district has 28 high schools, 32 middle schools, three "primary/secondary" schools that include grades normally in both middle schools and elementary schools, more than 150 elementary schools, and one early childhood development center.
Former secondary schools
Former high schools
Norman Robert Crozier Technical High School (the school was known by many names)
Dallas High School 1907–1916
Main High School 1916–1917
Bryan Street High School 1917–1928
Dallas Technical High School 1928–1942
Crozier Technical High School 1942–1971 (school closed in June 1971, next year most went to Skyline HS 7777 Forney road. Some students that came from Crozier Tech negotiated with DISD to show the diplomas as N.R. Crozier Technical High School up to the year 1975)
Business and Management Magnet Center 1975-May 1995 (School relocated to Townview Center May 1995)
Pleasant Grove High School 1953–1957 (the school had been in existence since 1939 but was in Pleasant Grove ISD until that district was absorbed into Dallas ISD in 1953. Today the campus is used by John Quincy Adams Elementary School)
Forest Avenue High School 1916–1956 (was converted from a whites-only school to an African-American school and renamed James Madison High School, and the white students were sent to Crozier Tech)
S. S. Conner Junior High School 1955–1964 (the S. S. Conner name was subsequently taken by an elementary school that opened in 1965)
Rylie Junior High School 1963–1978 (converted from the former Rylie High School; later closed and became a charter school in the 1980s)
Sequoyah Junior High School 1958–1969 (replaced by Thomas Edison Junior High School; Sequoyah was converted to an elementary campus)
Former primary schools
Stephen F. Austin School (opened in 1886 as East Dallas School; renamed Stephen F. Austin School in 1902; served as an elementary school until 1976, when the building was taken over by the High School for the Health Professions; the structure was razed around the year 2000)
Eagle Ford School (closed 1968)
Alamo School (closed 1968)
Wheatland School (closed 1964)
Addison School (closed 1966)
Letot School (closed 1968)
Vickery School (closed 1971)
David Crockett School (replaced by Ignacio Zaragoza Elementary in 1990; currently houses special programs)
Benito Juarez School (closed 1971)
Mirabeau B. Lamar School (currently houses special programs)
Stephen J. Hay School (closed in the late 1970s and has housed several special programs since)
Thomas C. Hassell School (closed 1980 and demolished to allow for roadway expansion)
Daniel 'Chappie' James Learning Center (Dallas) (closed after Spring 2006, students rezoned to Dunbar Elementary, reopened as Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School in 2006.
J. Leslie Patton Elementary School (Dallas) (closed after Spring 2006, students rezoned to Oliver (became PreK-5), Russell (4-5), Bryan (PreK-5), Miller (PreK-5))
Pre-K through grade 3
Robert C. Buckner Elementary School (Dallas)
Fannie C. Harris Elementary School (students moved to Oran Roberts Elementary for Pre-K through 3)
Joseph J. McMillan Elementary School (Dallas) (closed after Spring 2006, rezoned to Oliver (became PreK-5), Seguin (PK-3), Bryan (PreK-5), Miller (PreK-5))
T.D. Marshall Elementary School (Dallas) (closed after Spring 2006, most of it was rezoned to Oliver (became PreK-5) and small portions were rezoned to Lisbon (PreK-5), Seguin (PK-3))
Walter J. E. Schiebel, Ed.D. (1966) Education in Dallas: Ninety-two years of history 1874–1966. Dallas: Dallas Independent School District.
Scheibel, page 1; a table indicates that 1880 had 1218 students enrolled; 1881, 1351 students; 1882, 1453 students; 1883, 1760 students; 1884, 2537 students; and 1885, 3204 students.
Scheibel, page 1.
Schiebel, page 3.
Schiebel, page 10.
Schiebel, pages 11–12.
^ Schiebel, pages 253-256.
Schiebel, page 56.
Schiebel, page 130.
Schiebel, pages 132-133.
^ Schiebel, page 160.
Schiebel, page 159.
Parks, Scott. "Integration plan went down tubes." The Dallas Morning News. November 17, 2002. Retrieved on September 8, 2009.
Meyers, Jessica. "Plano students trickling out of district into private schools." The Dallas Morning News. October 10, 2011. Retrieved on October 11, 2011.
Bleiberg, Larry. "School-boundary proposals faulted; DISD seeking the most changes in attendance zones since '50s." The Dallas Morning News. Monday February 5, 1996. 13A. Retrieved on September 6, 2011.
The Dallas Morning News - 14 August 2006. "New year, new energy for DISD" by Kent Fischer. Retrieved January 16, 2007.
"Plan K." Dallas Independent School District. Retrieved on November 24, 2008.
Stutz, Terrence and Tawnell D. Hobbs, Grad rate formula to be uniform:Spellings issues order; dropout rate report puts DISD 7th worst, Dallas Morning News, 2008-04-02, retrieved 2009-01-24
Standard reports, Texas Education Agency retrieved 2009-01-24, select the reports for the Dallas Independent School District
Standard reports, Texas Education Agency retrieved 2009-01-24, select the reports for the Dallas Independent School District. 2009 graduation numbers are from Dallas ISD.
 a graph composed from enrollment numbers from the Texas Education Agency and current Dallas ISD enrollment as of October 2009.
Hobbs, Tawnell. "Is it time to split DISD? A state rep. thinks so." The Dallas Morning News. Monday March 16, 2009. Retrieved on April 20, 2009.
Shah, Angela. "SCHOOLS As goes the schools, so goes the city. Good schools translate into a better-educated workforce, more desirable jobs, more stable neighborhoods, higher property values. So other cities are working hard - outside the classroom - to bolster their schools. Dallas needs remedial work." The Dallas Morning News. April 18, 2004. Retrieved on November 26, 2011.
"Athletic Facilities." Dallas Independent School District. Retrieved on February 24, 2012.
^ Hadnot, Ira J. "Public schools resegregating, research finds Busing, court orders haven't reversed trend especially in South; policy changes urged." The Dallas Morning News. Sunday January 19, 2003. 23A. Retrieved on October 11, 2011.
^ Hacker, Holly K. "Analysis shows true Texas high school performance, stripping away socioeconomic factors." The Dallas Morning News. September 3, 2011. Retrieved on February 10, 2012.
I graduated from tech in 71 and know disd closed this school
"East Dallas Schoolhouse." The Dallas Morning News, 31 December 1886.
"Stephen F. Austin School." The Dallas Morning News, 2 March 1902
Betzen, Bill. "Dallas ISD’s middle school model is especially damaging for boys." (letters to the editor) The Dallas Morning News. November 19, 2013.
Holley, Doug. "The Lessons of Longfellow Elementary." D Magazine. September 1975.
Curts, Tracy. "IS WHITE FLIGHT RUINING THE DALLAS SCHOOLS?" D Magazine. August 1977.